MARCH 2016 / VOL. 27, NO.2
WAR & PEACE
Meet & Three
University Libraries Moving Image Research Collections land treasure trove of military films, page 2
Former and future Peace Corps volunteers bring home their experiences trying to change the world, page 6
Alumni who served in the Army during three different wars compare their experiences on campus and on the battlefield, page 12
USC TIMES / STAFF
FROM THE EDITOR USC Times is published 10 times a year for the faculty and staff of the University of South Carolina by the Office of Communications & Public Affairs, Wes Hickman, director. Managing Editor Craig Brandhorst Creative Director Bob Wertz Designer Brinnan Wimberly Brandi Lariscy Avant Contributors Chris Horn Page Ivey Ore Oluwole Steven Powell Glenn Hare Thom Harman Photographers Kim Truett Ambyr Goff Printer USC Printing Services Campus correspondents James Raby, Aiken Cortney Easterling, Greenville Shana Dry, Lancaster Jane Brewer, Salkehatchie Misty Hatfield, Sumter Annie Smith, Union Tammy Whaley, Upstate Jay Darby, Palmetto College Submissions Did you know you can submit ideas for future issues of USC Times? Share your story by emailing or calling Craig Brandhorst at firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-777-3681.
WAR & PEACE Let’s be clear: this is not a political issue. Yes, we put a soldier on the cover. Yes, we did a story about the United States Marine Corps film archive recently obtained by University Libraries’ Moving Image Research Collections. And yes, we invited three alumni veterans to share their experiences in combat and on campus for our latest Meet & Three. We’ve also dedicated six pages to members of our faculty, staff and student body who have committed some portion of their lives to the Peace Corps — and returned wiser for the experience. We’re not pitting one type of service against the other; this isn’t hawk versus dove. Whether you agree or disagree with a particular armed conflict, whether or not you endorse official U.S. aid efforts in the developing world, we hope you’ll agree that the men and women who dedicate their time and effort to these major global challenges, often in the prime of their lives, do so because they believe in something bigger than themselves. That alone is worth acknowledgment, no matter our politics. It’s also worth our time to listen to their stories, to learn from them and to appreciate what these members of the Carolina community bring to our campus. What was it like to leave USC for Vietnam in 1967, not even 20 years old, and then return to finish your education a few years later, the sound of helicopters still buzzing your ears, the anti-war movement by then unfolding right before your eyes? Alumnus and former Office of Communications staff writer Marshall Swanson tells us (page 12). What was Marine Corps basic training like at South Carolina’s Parris Island during the Korean War? Or what was the scene as the wounded were being evacuated from the beaches of Iwo Jima in WWII? The 16,000 reels of film now being accessioned down at MIRC give us a good picture of those experiences, too (page 2). By the same token, what did it mean to take a job at a charity hospital in Brazil in 1970, and then stay in that country as a nurse for the next 25 years? Or to teach English in Ukraine only to be evacuated as war broke out in 2014? What did it mean for a wave of Peace Corps volunteers to come to your native Bulgaria after the fall of communism, and then to teach these same volunteers your native tongue as a Host Country National? What does it mean to finish your master’s in May, knowing you will ship off in September for Rwanda, a country once torn by genocide, to learn the national language and teach English in return? Yeah, we were as curious as you are — about all of the above (page 6). This issue is about war and peace, not one or the other. May we learn the lessons of each, whatever our politics, and in the process, somehow, hopefully, leave the world a better place. This month’s signature is for all of us — one way or another, let’s try to achieve it. Peace,
The University of South Carolina does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities or decisions for qualified persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetics, sexual orientation or veteran status.
CRAIG BRANDHORST MANAGING EDITOR
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FLIP THE CONVERSATION
$ LET’S TALK MONEY
Focus on Learning, Innovation and Pedagogy (FLIP) is a faculty discussion group focused the theory and practice of teaching and learning. FLIP is open to faculty members, instructors, postdocs and graduate students who want to study, discuss and try various evidence-based approaches to instruction, including student-centered learning, discipline-based education research, flipped classrooms, problem-based learning (PBL) and other forms of active learning. Workshops this semester are focused on metacognition in the classroom and active learning in large classrooms. For more info, email Alan White at email@example.com.
To make good decisions about handling your money, you need to know your options. TIAACREF consultants can help you understand investment choices, simplify your finances through consolidating assets, develop an investment strategy and more. Confidential consultations are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Benefits Office at 1600 Hampton Street, Suite 801. Call 800-732-8353 to schedule an appointment.
PROSTRATE PROBLEMS February’s USC Times was largely about risk but also about failure. Unfortunately, in the process of discussing the former we demonstrated the latter. In the story “Death Defying Acts,” about the various ways USC research is helping to mitigate the five leading causes of death in the United States, we botched a reference to the Arnold School of Public Health’s Prostate-Specific Antigen program, accidentally inserting an ‘r’ where it shouldn’t have been. Spellcheck won’t catch that kind of blunder, of course, and we were caught lying down on the job.
Faculty love to save students money on textbooks and other classroom materials, but the dos and don’ts of fair use can be tricky. The University Libraries Scholarly Communications team is hosting several workshops for faculty and graduate students, including “Copyright for the Classroom,” “Predatory Publishing” and “Free Textbooks through Open Educational Resources.” To sign up for a workshop, visit the Scholarly Communications website guides.library.sc.edu/c. php?g=410443&p=2986999.
Granting One Wish The Office of Research and Grant Development is accepting applications for the Fall 2016 GRANT certificate program. The Gamecock Research Administrators Network Training (GRANT) program was developed to assist staff members interested in grant administration. To apply, visit the GRANT application page grant.sc.edu/grantcert_application.php.
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UNIVERSITY LANDS MARINE CORPS FILMS ONE OF THE JOYS OF WORKING IN A FILM LIBRARY IS THE CHANCE TO STEP BACK AND TRULY SEE HISTORY. THE ADDITION OF THE U.S. MARINE CORPS REPOSITORY TO THE MOVING IMAGE RESEARCH COLLECTIONS MEANS SEEING THE FACES OF YOUNG MARINES, BEING ABLE TO READ THE NAMES ON THEIR UNIFORMS AND WATCHING THEM MARCH THROUGH THE HILLSIDES OF KOREA OR THE JUNGLES OF VIETNAM. IT’S ALL THERE IN THE 16,000 REELS OF FILM DOCUMENTING THE OPERATIONAL HISTORY OF THE MARINE CORPS FROM THE 1930S THROUGH THE 1970S.
BY MEGAN SEXTON
he U.S. Marine Corps Film Repository is a large stockpile, about 2,000 hours of 16 mm and 35 mm film. Each reel has about 10 minutes of footage, and MIRC is going through about 250 reels in the initial test batch that arrived from Quantico in December to start preparing for digitization. But while MIRC has a general idea of what’s in those thousands of film cans, much is a mystery – that’s what makes the work exciting. “I think we’re going to see a lot of training film. I expect to find a lot of Marines on maneuvers, conducting field trials of equipment, all of that, because that’s what they do every day,” said Greg Wilsbacher, who is curating the repository.
“It focuses not just on the times of conflict, but on everything they do. You see the time, energy, sweat and blood that goes into being in the Marine Corps.”
The Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia, has maintained a large film and tape library since the 1940s. When I decided it was time to get out of the film archive business, the strong reputation of the film library at Carolina led the Marines to Columbia. Before each piece of film is digitized it must be cleaned and inspected. Damaged pieces are removed, and each piece is inventoried and labeled. The film is placed on a scanner, which takes a picture of every frame. Eventually – once the university raises the needed funds (see sidebar) – the digitized version of the films will be put on servers and made available to the public online. “This is an important collection for the University of South Carolina and the state of South Carolina because the Marines are such an important part of our history in this state,” Wilsbacher said. “This is something not just the university, but the state can be proud of.”
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Many of the films were shot at the Marine Corps Training Depot at Parris Island in South Carolina, including a movie from September 1961 that focuses on the processing and training of recruits. In it, you can clearly see men’s faces. “People can say, ‘That’s my dad right there. He’s 18 years old,’ ” Wilsbacher said. One of the oldest pieces of footage is from the base at Quantico in the 1930s. In it, officers can be seen learning how to assault beaches using amphibious craft in preparation for storming the beaches in the Pacific a few years later. Film from the 1950s shows early training with helicopters, foreshadowing the importance of the equipment for transporting Marines in Vietnam. The collection solidifies MIRC’s identity as an archive whose mission is to support scholarly inquiry – providing a vast amount of film to allow for deep research. It also will eventually allow for the general public to see military history beyond stock footage of battles, which is the dominant way it has always been viewed. “There is a commitment to let people see it for free; to make sure that everybody can see the films regardless of where they are,” Wilsbacher said. “Collections of this size don’t pop up very much. That’s one of the things that’s important. This is a library that was functioning and intact. That makes it a better representation of the Corps’ history. It was a well-cared-for collection.”
RALLYING TROOPS, RAISING FUNDS Storing and digitizing an estimated 2,000 hours of film won’t be easy — or cheap. The University of South Carolina must raise about $2 million to make the video available to the public, with funds going to storage, inventory, cataloging, digitizing as well as streaming. “Because of its sheer size, stewardship of this collection would be a challenge for any institution. We were eager to make space and digitize these films so that they could be made available to the American public, and former and serving Marines,” said Dean of Libraries Tom McNally. The money raised will be used to hire staff to digitize and research the content, as well as for programming, outreach and publicity. “Providing digital access to a collection of this scale is a major undertaking, and timing is critical,” McNally said. “The Marines who served their country overseas and here at home in the 20th century are aging. Their memories — a vital source of context for these films — will soon be lost.” USC has raised private funds to build a special climate-controlled vault to ensure the stability of these perishable originals. The funds were donated by Richard and Novelle Smith, in memory of her cousin, Marine Capt. James H. Davis of Columbia. Davis, ‘67, served as a company commander in Vietnam and was one of the last Marines to leave Koh Tang island by helicopter in March 1975, ending the final official battle of the Vietnam War. A 45-minute oral history with Davis is among the items that will be available to the public. The vault should be completed late this summer. The university has received a small sampling of films from the Marine Corps, and the remainder will arrive once the vault is built.
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1, 8 and 10: 2nd Battalion, Fifth Marines in the Chunch’on sector of Korea moving south across the Soyang-gang River, April 4, 1951.
2: Medal ceremonies on Okinawa, July 1945, WWII.
3 and 5: Recruits learn to swim with combat gear, 1961; a Marine is trained in the science of mine detection at Parris Island, 1961
4 and 11: Combat patrol near Khe Sanh, Vietnam, January 1968.
6: A Marine drives an amphibious assault vehicle ashore to Iwo Jima, February/March 1945.
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CALL TO ACTION 9
7: HRS-2 helicopter maneuvers at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia, 1955.
9 and 12: Marines of the 3rd Division in action at Khe Sanh, Vietnam, July 29, 1968.
Contributing to the effort through the Marine Corps Film Fund will make the film repository available to the public for the first time. Interested in supporting the effort? Visit http://library.sc.edu/p/Develop/ Endowments/MarineCorps
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COMMON CORPS IN THE COMING WEEKS, THE UNIVERSITY WILL ENTER A PARTNERSHIP WITH THE PEACE CORPS TO OFFER THE PEACE CORPS PREP CERTIFICATE, STARTING IN THE FALL. THE SPECIFICS ARE STILL BEING IRONED OUT, BUT THE MISSION IS CLEAR — USC WILL DO ITS PART TO PREPARE THE NEXT GENERATION OF VOLUNTEERS. IN HONOR OF THAT COMMITMENT TO THE FUTURE, USC TIMES TRACKED DOWN A HALF A DOZEN FORMER VOLUNTEERS NOW WORKING OR STUDYING ON CAMPUS, PLUS ON GRAD STUDENT HEADING OUT LATER THIS YEAR, AND ASKED THEM TO SHARE THE LESSONS OF THEIR EXPERIENCE.
community, who talks with people on the street or at the market,” she says. “Some of those people still don’t have TVs. This is their only window to the outside world.” The Peace Corps may even have helped change the mindset of many Bulgarians toward volunteerism itself, she says. “During the communist period there was mandatory volunteerism — we were ‘volunteered’ to do this or to do that,” she explains. “So here we have people who have committed themselves for two years to come into a country that they have never visited, and learn a language nobody else has heard of, who speak that language very well and are there doing things for the community that the community has never before even thought they can do.
VOLUNTEERS OF BULGARIA In 1995, when Mila Tasseva-Kurktchieva answered an ad in a Sofia newspaper looking for Bulgarian language instructors interested in joining the Peace Corps, she had the required degrees, and she had spent a little time teaching Bulgarian to international students at her alma mater, but that was the extent of her qualifications. “I had some experience, but nothing prepared me for the new ways we would be teaching,” she says. “At the time I applied, I could barely put together a simple sentence in English, and I didn’t know anything about Peace Corps, even though they had been in the country for four years.” And yet Tasseva-Kurktchieva got to be a part of something larger than she ever expected. As one of ten host country nationals hired to help transform the Peace Corps’ Bulgarian language
instruction program, she not only trained the new volunteers before they went into the field; she also got on-the-job training in the pedagogy of second language acquisition. “We created the curriculum as a unit, we built the textbooks as a unit, we did everything together,” she says. “We had the opportunity to start from scratch. It was fun.” She also got to see firsthand how the Peace Corps was helping to transform her native country in the years after communism, particularly in the smaller towns. “Imagine that you have a native speaker of English who not only teaches classes in the school but plays soccer with the kids, or basketball, who teaches them about life outside of that small
“They start to think, ‘We can do that. We can better our lives.’ Having this concept of actual volunteerism, instead of being volunteered for something, changes the way you see the world.” Indeed, Tasseva-Kurktchieva credits her time in the Peace Corps with putting her on the path to her success in academia. In 1999, two days after she completed her stint, she flew to the U.S. to begin graduate studies in linguistics at USC. Now the director of the linguistics program, she researches second language acquisition. “Peace Corps pushed me to believe in my abilities and gave me an opportunity to start using English,” she says. “That’s also where I drew most of my research for my dissertation work, which was on second language acquisition of Bulgarian. My links to the Peace Corps didn’t end in 1999, and they have never ended.”
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SOCCER FIRST In high school, a family friend showed Courtney Schrock a picture of his granddaughter, a Peace Corps volunteer stationed in Africa, standing beside a lion. Now a returned Peace Corps volunteer herself, and a graduate student in the Arnold School of Public Health, Schrock lights up at the memory. She also laughs a little. “I thought immediately that was something I wanted to do,” she says. By the time she signed up for the Peace Corps during her senior year at Washington & Jefferson College, though, it was about a lot more than seeing lions. In fact, lions weren’t even a consideration. “I didn’t put a preference,” Schrock says. “I just said, ‘Wherever you want to send me, I’m ready to go.’” In 2012, after three months of intensive language and cultural instruction outside Kiev, she ended up in Lisichansk, a city of approximately 104,000 people in the eastern part of Ukraine, near the Russian border.
As a Youth Development Volunteer, she cotaught English and healthy lifestyle classes to kids, but she also pitched in with public health projects and worked as co-director of an English-speaking summer camp. “The kids didn’t so much care if I was in the classroom telling them smoking is bad for them — it was more, ‘Will you play soccer with us later?’’” she says. “But it was during those times that I was able to engage with them and figure out what was important to them, just to live life there with them.” Unfortunately, that life was disrupted in 2014 when fighting broke out between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government. With the fighting escalating, Schrock and her fellow volunteers were evacuated in the middle of the night without even having a chance to say goodbye to their students and friends. “The majority of my Ukrainian friends have relocated either to Russia or western Ukraine,” she says. “The town I lived in was invaded, and parts were destroyed by the rebels.”
Schrock calls her final days in Ukraine “an incredibly eye-opening experience” and “a truly a very sad, sad time.” But she describes her stint there as a great experience and one that helped her decide to apply to graduate school in public health, which she did while still overseas. Now pursuing a master’s in health promotion, education and behavior along with a certificate of graduate study in health communications, she hopes to work overseas, possibly with USAID.
“The Peace Corps really shaped my career path. Without it, I would not have known that public health is for me. I really found my passion over there.”
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RADIO FREE SENEGAL Chrissie Faupel, ’05, started dreaming about the Peace Corps in junior high, when she would send off for application materials just to read about all the countries she might one day visit. Sometime in college, though, she started to question her own motivations. “Right before I graduated, I started to second guess myself. I had read ‘The Road to Hell,’ by Michael Maren, which is very critical of charities or NGOs in the developing world,” she says. “I started thinking that maybe the Peace Corps wasn’t something I should be doing.” But then she did what anyone considering a major life decision should do: she dug deeper. “I pulled up the three goals of the Peace Corps,” she says. “The first goal is to do the job that you’re invited by the government to do, the second is to share American culture with our host country nationals and the third is to bring their culture back to share it with Americans.” And while she saw potential pitfalls with the international development piece, the Peace
Corps’ second two goals related to cultural exchange, which was what she really wanted from the experience. Eventually, in 2012, she shipped off for Senegal, where she spent two years as a preventative health educator. “But the great thing about the Peace Corps is, you have your primary project and also secondary projects, and your secondary projects are just as important in the Peace Corps’ eyes,” she explains. “So I did some health work — I weighed babies, and I held them while they were being vaccinated — but I also taught art classes and had a radio show where I would record old women telling stories and translate some American stories into Malinke.” Now assistant director of undergraduate advising for the Office of Study Abroad, Faupel nudges students to think outside the box when it comes to studying overseas. “We get a ton of kids who come into the office and want go to Barcelona, and I’m sure
Barcelona is great, people want to go there for a reason,” she says. “But having been in the Peace Corps I can say, ‘OK, I understand why you’d want to go there, but have you ever considered anything else, something a little more off the beaten path?’” Faupel also hopes one day to expand USC’s Global Exchange program so that Carolina undergraduates can study in Africa and vice versa. That would help broaden students’ horizons, she says, but it would also contribute to a broader university mission for crosscultural understanding. “Our office goals for the coming years are very ambitious,” she says. “Right now we don’t have any exchanges in Africa, and I would love to change that.”
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INTO THE AMAZON There’s a framed Chicago Tribune clipping on Deanne Messias’s College of Nursing office wall that features a blurry photograph of the nursing professor 34 years ago — back when she spent her days immunizing children and helping the sick aboard a makeshift hospital boat deep in the Amazon. Messias spent nearly a quarter century in Brazil, first with the Peace Corps and then at a series of hospitals and clinics and in nursing education, but that single newspaper photograph, taken to accompany a feature about the Franciscan priest who ran the floating hospital, might be the only one she has of herself actually doing her job in the South American country — and that’s fine with her. “No, I don’t have any pictures!” she exclaims as she throws up her hands and laughs. “I wasn’t a tourist! I was working!” That’s really the bottom line with Messias. She fell in love with Brazil and Brazilian culture on a summer study abroad trip while an undergraduate Latin American Studies major at the University of Illinois and wanted to go back. But when she actually did go back — as a Peace Corps volunteer following graduation a couple years later, in 1969 — the work grabbed her as much as the country itself. After a false start when the Peace Corps sent her to the state of Goiás to assist with “a sort of 4H-type club” that she didn’t consider particularly effective, she convinced the Peace Corps administrators back in Rio to let her do something else. And when they told her, “OK, go find something else to do,” that’s exactly what she did. Messias had known a Peace Corps couple in the town where she spent her summer abroad, and she knew that the wife had worked at a small charity hospital there. Following that lead, she showed up on a bus one afternoon and asked to help out. After she turned down an offer to help out in the operating room — “I said, ‘No, I do languages! I do geography!’” — the hospital
put her to work running their social service and volunteer departments.
in Brazil being a nurse, learning nursing, teaching nursing — working.
“I organized the volunteers, we triaged patients when they came in — I even had social work students interning with me, even though I wasn’t in social work,” she says.
“Because I didn’t do Peace Corps and come straight back, it all sort of bleeds together,” she says. “It was a way to become immersed in a culture, but I found something for which there was a real need. They obviously needed nurses and nursing education, so I found a way that I could make a difference.”
“It was my first real encounter with health care. Before that, if anything, I was going to be a teacher because I liked school — and of course, that’s what I am now, a teacher. But I did three years at that hospital, and I didn’t ever want to come home.”
And so for a very long time she didn’t. Instead, she worked a string of health care jobs and only came back to the U.S. for short stints to get a bachelor’s in nursing at the University of Arizona and, later, a master’s in community nursing at Marion College in Indiana. Otherwise, she was
Eventually, of course, Messias came back to the U.S. to pursue her Ph.D. at the University of California - San Francisco, and after another stop at Marion College (by then known as Indiana Wesleyan University), she landed her current joint appointment in nursing and women’s and gender studies at USC. She now runs the Ph.D. program in nursing and researches access to health care for immigrants and women’s health issues. “I think having that experience is who I am,” she says. “It’s not that I talk about Brazil all the time, but it’s how I look at the world, through a different lens.”
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A TWO-WAY STREET When we think about the Peace Corps, we often think in terms of what volunteers do to improve lives in the developing world. But as creative writing MFA student Mark Rodehorst will tell you, it’s just as much about what the developing world can teach us about ourselves. “Cultural exchange is a two way street,” says Rodehorst, who served in both Niger and Rwanda. “There’s what they would think of me, being an American — they watch a lot of American movies — and there’s how I can defy that.” Rodehorst taught English as a second language for Catholic Charities in New Orleans before joining the Peace Corps, and started his service as a teacher trainer in Niger before terrorist activity prompted an evacuation. A month later he was reassigned to Rwanda, where he taught at the middle school level in a small village. “I think we are ambassadors, but we are more human than other ambassadors might be because we integrate with the people,” he says. “That’s our job. I tried to integrate and not stick out like a sort thumb, though of course I probably did.” And while Rodehorst says he signed up partly for “selfish reasons” — to learn about post-Colonial
Sam Hackworth and Mark Rodehorst
Africa, to experience life in a foreign culture, to meet people he would otherwise never meet — the future MFA student also wanted to reflect on his own place in the world.
“In Rwanda, I wrote more than I’d ever written, I read more than I’ve ever read, but I also saw a corner of the world few Americans ever see.”
“I might have been the first white person they had ever seen. They would touch my skin to see what it felt like. But really, people are the same — we just have different cultures. My experience really drove that home.” Experience is also a motivating factor for linguistics graduate student Sam Hackworth, who ships off to Rwanda with the Peace Corps in September. Hackworth worked in USC’s Writing Center last year with Rodehorst and picked his fellow grad student’s brain before signing up. Rwanda was his first choice — despite the legacy of the 1994 genocide that resulted in approximately 800,000 deaths in a matter of months.
“I wanted to know more about what it actually means to be from Rwanda,” he says. “People automatically just think of the Don Cheadle movie [‘Hotel Rwanda,’ about the genocide], but it’s important to me to understand other cultures beyond the stereotypes.” Hackworth will teach English and learn Kinyarwanda, the nation’s official language. The first opportunity appeals to his love of education. He currently teaches freshman English, has taught in the English Program for Internationals and hopes to earn a Ph.D. one day. Meanwhile, the chance to study Kinyarwanda appeals to his scholarly interest in second language acquisition. “Kinyarwanda has some unique phonetic qualities, sounds we just don’t hear in English,” he says. “I hope that by the time I finish I will have at least a basic understanding of it.” And like Rodehorst, the Wisconsin native is eager for self-discovery. “I’ve always wanted to work outside of the country, to broaden my horizons and get away from what I know,” he says. “That’s one thing about the Peace Corps — it could completely change everything about my life.”
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The more Smithwick listened, the more she began to understand what the women were asking for and why it was so important to them. Salsa was an integral part of the culture, she says, but its fundamental joy as a form of personal expression had been taken from them by a maledominated environment. “Every time they would go to a dance with their male partners they were always watched,” she says. “They couldn’t dance too sexy because that might attract the attention of other men, so they wanted a space where there would be no men and they could be free to be women.” Smithwick helped make that happen.
BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME Julie Smithwick has wanted to help the underprivileged since she went on a churchsponsored cultural exchange trip to Brazil as a teenager and came face-to-face with genuine poverty. It wasn’t until the Peace Corps sent her to work in low-income marginalized neighborhoods of Esmeraldas, Ecuador in 1997, though, that the Florence, S.C., native truly began to understand how to do that. Assigned to the Peace Corps’ Youth and Families at Risk program and to a program run by the Salesian Order of the Catholic Church, Smithwick spent an extended three-year term in the coastal South American town. She volunteered at an after-school program, helped plan and build a combined recreation and education center for the area’s at-risk youth and assisted with a library and reading incentive program that put books in the hands of those kids, often for the first time in their lives. She learned the most, though, from her involvement with a local women’s group — and from the women themselves. “We started that group with our own agenda, talking about issues like parenting, spousal abuse — stuff they wanted to know about but didn’t feel empowered to change,” she explains. “They said, ‘You know what we want? We want a women’s-only dance club.’”
“We would have parties where we would pull the blinds over all the windows, turn the music up really loud and just dance,” she says. “It was hotter than Hades, like a 108 degrees, but it was the most empowering thing in the world. I never would have thought of that, though. We only came to that conclusion after I asked, ‘What do you really want?’” The project provided a space where the women could speak freely about issues that mattered to them. Some of them stood up to domestic abuse, and the group started a micro-loan project to help each other start small businesses as a means to achieving economic independence. “These things may sem small, but to these women they were hugely important,” says Smithwick. That same community-based approach to empowerment now drives PASOs, a responsive education and advocacy organization for South Carolina’s booming Latino population. Launched by Smithwick in 2005, while she was still a graduate student in USC’s College of Social Work, PASOs is now affiliated with the Arnold School of Public Health, partners with more than 180 organizations statewide and serves 29 of 46 counties. “That’s where my Peace Corps experience comes in,” says Smithwick. “It’s been about going into the community and saying, ‘We have few resources, but you have a lot of great ideas — let’s get together and do something good.’”
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This month’s three
BAND OF BROTHERS BY CHRIS HORN
Since the Civil War, when the entire student body enlisted, Carolina students have been marching off to battle. Campus boasts a War Memorial Building commemorating the sacrifice of S.C. soldiers of World War I, and in World War II — when the need for junior officers was urgent — USC resembled a Naval training base. During the Vietnam War, campus was home to returning soldiers, future soldiers and anti-war activists. USC Times invited three alumni and military veterans who have served in war zones to discuss campus life, military life and public perception of the military through the years. Marshall, let start with you and your experience
Marshall: In the spring of 1967, you could
see the beginnings of the protest movement, but Carolina was kind of behind the rest of the country. I remember there was a demonstration by students protesting the university giving Gen. William Westmoreland an honorary degree. When I came back as a student in 1970, three years later, there was a lot more of that. That was the year students occupied the administration building and the Russell House, the same time as the trouble at Kent State. In that three-year period, the university had been swept into the rest of the country’s activism and opposition to the war. I didn’t encounter any hostility from students. I think partly it’s because South Carolina is a military-friendly state — that’s part of the tradition. But I didn’t broadcast that I had been in Vietnam.
Marshall: I was a freshman at Carolina in
’66 and didn’t do well at all, so I enlisted in the Army for three years to get the G.I. Bill. The first two years, I was an intelligence analyst in D.C. In Vietnam, I was a night operations NCO in a command bunker in Pleiku. I worked 12-13 hours a night, six nights a week. I was over there in the spring of ’70 when they went into Cambodia. That’s what triggered the Kent State riots, and, well, riots across the country. It was the second most divisive war, after the Civil War, I think. On the home front, there was complete tumult. Sometimes looking back on it, I’m glad I was in the Army because it provided a structured way of life for me when civilian society was going crazy. The civil rights movement was going on at that time, too, and you had the anti-war movement and general student activism. Barry: Let me interrupt. What was it like on
Barry: So you went with the long hair and the
flip-flops? Marshall: I had short hair, but I pretty much
kept to myself. I was dating a girl who was in graduate school, I worked at the Gamecock and at the campus radio station, and I lived off
COL. SCOTT BROWN (RET.), ‘86 geography, is recovery programs manager at the S.C. Emergency Management Division. His 28 years of service in the U.S. Army included deployments in the First Gulf War, Korea, Bosnia, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Afghanistan and the northern Arabian gulf.
LT. COL. BARRY HALE (RET.), ’87 political science, is recruiting officer for the Army ROTC at USC. His 33 years of service included three deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
MARSHALL SWANSON , ’73 journalism, a retired publications writer for the University of South Carolina, served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1970 and did one tour of duty in Vietnam.
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Marshall: I was hospitalized with appendicitis
campus in an apartment down in Five Points with two Air Force veterans and another grad student. It was on Waccamaw Avenue — we called it ‘The Swamp.’ In my classes, I didn’t encounter any hostility from other students. The only thing was that at a party someone might make a remark about Vietnam vets — that Vietnam vets were suckers or whatever. But I don’t remember anyone ever saying anything directly to me, and if I was in a situation where someone said something about the war, I didn’t confront them, I just let it go. Scott, your situation was different. You finished college first, then joined the Army and ended up in the First Gulf War, which enjoyed far more popular support. Did college in any way prepare you for war?
Scott: Later on, as a staff officer, the education
came into play: the attention to detail, the research, the problem-solving skills. The cartography component of my degree, the painstaking attention to detail to make those maps — that’s something you actually use. Barry: It prepares you to be a staff officer, that’s
absolutely true. The ability to think is critical. Scott: Compared to Marshall’s experience after
Vietnam, Barry and I were definitely embraced by the student population. We walked around freely in our uniforms. In fact, we embraced it, almost — not grandstanding, but we really enjoyed being part of the military department. From that standpoint, from 1973 until 1983 when the Army ROTC program started, there was a significant change in people’s outlook on the military and the opportuniites it provided.
Barry: We would have formations and
in Vietnam and was able to make a phone call only because I was in the hospital. They hooked up a patch with ham radio operators and limited it to five or ten minutes, and whenever you were done talking, you would say ‘Over’ so the ham operator could flip the switch and allow my mother to speak. That was the only time I was able to talk on the phone. All the rest of the time you’d write a letter and write ‘Free’ on the upper right hand corner of the envelope instead of using a stamp…
ceremonies on the Horseshoe and people would come watch. We had commissionings on the State House grounds. There would be a thousand people there, counting the commissionees. It was a big deal.
Barry: They still do that...
Scott: I don’t think any of my non-military
various platforms, you can have instantaneous communication.
friends treated me with any deference, but among my ROTC friends we had a mutual respect for one another’s place in the hierarchy. We used to salute each other and say ‘Yes, sir’ and ‘No, sir.’ Barry, you’ve seen 16 years of cadets here at USC. Has there been any change in terms of their academic caliber?
Barry: Absolutely. When Scott and I
graduated, I had a 2.8 GPA, and I was considered a better-than-average cadet. It’s 3.4 now, and we’re working real hard to get that to 3.5. When we were in ROTC the saying was ‘2.0 is good to go.’ Now, I won’t even contract you at less than 3.0. As the numbers of cadets have gotten smaller, it’s been easier to do, too. USC can produce 50 officers easily every year. But my mission is 25. I’ve got five engineers in that group, a couple of nurses, some hard science majors and a couple of political science and criminal justice majors, too.
Marshall: … and it would take a week for a
letter to get home. Scott: Now, with social media and all the
Barry: And it’s a double-edged sword… Scott: My first experience with technology in
a war zone was in the First Gulf War. I stood in line for four hours to call home and my wife was at work so I got the answering machine. But we still used mail, and I still have the penpal I had from Desert Storm — she’s now a schoolteacher up in North Carolina. Fast forward to cell phone technology, and we’re trying to stay ahead of it.
There’s been a huge advance in technology, as well. How has that affected military deployments, particularly in war zones? Marshall, you could only write letters home, right?
When I was in Vietnam, I wanted to get back to the Horseshoe — this place was a point of light. I wanted to get back and get started with my life.
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The ability to have a cell phone in combat, the ability to text someone on the battlefield, that’s just bizarre for us. Barry: In ’03 I had a satellite phone. I think we
had a hundred minutes we could use. In 2010, I was responsible for casualty reporting, and we had to finish reports so that they could make a casualty notification within 12 hours — and we were averaging about eight or 10 hours. In 2013-14 we had that down to about 45 minutes. We were trying to beat Skype and Facebook and U.S. News & World Report and Fox News and CNN. A kid would get shot, and 45 minutes later the Department of the Army’s Casualty Notification System was calling us to go to a family’s home to say ‘Your son or daughter has been injured’ or ‘Your son or daughter is dead.’ They would turn off the Wi-Fi on bases [in Afghanistan and Iraq] to keep kids from calling home after a bad firefight when there were 12 or 15 casualties — and casualties can mean wounded, not just dead. Marshall: I would think the presence of
social media and all the technology would be a distraction on the mission. Did you find that troops couldn’t wait to get on the phone to tell people in the States what had happened? Scott: Being informed about what they could
and couldn’t discuss is no different than how
we drilled in ‘Loose lips sink ships’ in World War II. With geo-tagging, you can post a picture to Facebook, someone can figure out your location and next thing you know there’s a rocket attack on your position. But the ability to reach back home and talk to someone is a big morale booster.
you serve in the military, your life might depend on the guy next to you. So you look out for him and he looks out for you. Barry: And it’s not just in combat. It
that civilians have about military life in general?
might just be getting through the day. It’s shared experiences: ‘The bleepin’ Army, look what they’ve done to me now,’ that kind of common experience.
Scott: [Civilian] perception of what the
Marshall: Veterans will very often look out
military does is so much better today. If you know someone in the military, you have a better sense of what it means to fuel an F-16 or drive a convoy from Kuwait to Baghdad — there’s a better sense of awareness of what those folks are doing. At the same time, because we have things like Navy SEALS and Rangers and Delta Force, people think — unless you have that connection with the military — that that’s what everyone does, and that’s not the case. There are lots of people behind the scenes.
for one another; they’ll give references for each other and things like that. When they did away with the draft, I think it was a big mistake. Now a lot of young people don’t have any skin in the game.
What are the most common misconceptions
Marshall: A lot of civilians don’t have family
members in the military and don’t know how the military does things. They might think everyone in a war zone carries a rifle. They don’t really know, quite honestly, how things work. That should be a point of concern because in the days of the draft we did have a citizens army and people had more knowledge about the military and the way it works. This might seem obvious, but is there really a bond among those who’ve served, especially I loved it so much that I spent my entire career trying to get back here — and now they’ll probably have to carry me out.
Marshall: The Band of Brothers is very real. If
veterans of war?
Is the Band of Brothers thing different for younger people in military service?
Barry: You’ve got two kinds of people doing
ROTC or military now: the guy who wants to find a way to pay for school and get his career start — and we’re okay with that — and the millennials who want to be a part of something bigger. You can tell which of those two groups they’re in just by the conversations you have. Just after 9/11, that group of cadets [who were already in] didn’t know what they were getting into. But instead of people running away, we had them lining up to join. We went from 90 kids to 300 kids [in Army ROTC] in less than two years. And all of them knew full well they were signing up for war. Scott: The VFWs and American Legions
that catered to my father’s and grandfather’s
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generation, where guys would sit around and reminisce and drink beer — these younger generations of veterans want to do more. Barry, what about emotional scars among those who come back to college?
Barry: It’s an issue across the nation for ROTC
programs. We’ve had to deal with it on a caseby-case basis with PTSD and other conditions. Marshall, did you have peers who had problems? That’s something you don’t hear much about anymore, that generation.
The university is that seed that allowed me to be successful. Whether it was the ROTC circles in which we ran or the student groups in which we were involved, it all worked together to allow us to be successful.
Marshall: A lot of Vietnam veterans came to a
very bad end. I think they were suffering from PTSD. There were drugs readily available in Vietnam if you didn’t have the good sense not to use them — marijuana, cocaine, hashish, heroin. A lot of those guys came home, got discharged and had that monkey on their backs. Since the Truman administration, when the military was desegregated, the U.S. military
my last two bosses were women and they rode rings around me. So it’s not a matter of quality or capability. Marshall: What about the old-school idea that
women might be a distraction to male ranks? There was a case in the Navy recently of enlisted men spying on female officers in the showers.
has been on the leading edge of social change,
Barry: I’ve not seen women get to the point
including the end of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ and
of being a distraction. For every dainty little female I’d have a female sergeant who was 6’5” and weighed 260 pounds and could carry tractor tires like they were a pocket book.
now combat opportunities for women —
Scott: For me, the argument had been that
women shouldn’t be serving in combat. But as an aviator, my perception changed. That surfaceto-air missile coming across the sky doesn’t care whether you’re male or female, doesn’t care what ethnicity you are — you’re just a target. Now, there may be some positions you want to reserve for men, because maybe, there are some skills required or just because of the physical nature of it. But women are soldiers first, so for me it’s no big deal. Barry: I can make an economic case for not
having women in the military — the expense of different uniforms and facilities — but then you get into the piece where the bullet doesn’t care what you are. If women want the opportunity, and if they’re willing to put the effort into it, more power to them. If you’ve got a ‘want to,’ we’ve got a place for you. Barry’s opinion is that guys ought to be fighting a war — and I say we do that by way of a draft — but that’s Barry’s opinion, not the party line. The truth is,
None of the candidates for President right now has a military background. Is there a disconnect between military service and the nation’s leaders?
Barry: We’re getting back to a point where
there is very little contact between the military and the populace at large. Marshall: That’s a dangerous development. Barry: And if and when that happens, we’re
going to, as a country, make stupid decisions to use military forces in places we shouldn’t. You’d think we’d have learned something about getting involved on the Asian continent to begin with and the level and type of involvement that you get into — but we didn’t. Marshall: When I hear a candidate say
he’s going to carpet bomb some place, that
scares the hell out of me because it’s obvious that person doesn’t understand the concept of sending people into war or the collateral damage of civilians being wounded and killed. I saw civilians in Vietnam turn to prostitution because their husbands had been killed. War, in my mind, should be the absolute last resort in foreign policy. We’re talking about young people’s lives. You look at that Vietnam Wall in Washington and realize every name represents someone’s life with a family. If someone doesn’t have familiarity with war, they can’t know what it’s like. That’s why I’m a proponent of some form of required national service, whether it’s military or some other kind of service. Scott: I wholeheartedly agree with that, some
kind of national service. Having life experiences helps shape what you want to do, and that’s not to say military service is the only kind of service. There’s Peace Corps and lots of other ways to serve without being in uniform.
16 USCTIMES / MARCH 2016
CAROLINA SYSTEM EFFECT ROAD TRIP
LOWCOUNTRY SOLUTIONS USC SALKEHATCHIE PROVES ITS WORTH BY CRAIG BRANDHORST
The University of South Carolina Salkehatchie is a small school. Salk’s impact on its sprawling five-county region, though, is huge — educationally, economically, even emotionally, as the communities of Allendale and Walterboro rally around their shared school as an expression of civic pride. Boasting 60 full- and part-time staff, 22 full-time faculty, 40 adjunct instructors and a student body of approximately 1,000 students, the Lowcountry school estimates its economic impact at approximately $43.8 million — which represents a tremendous boon to the largely rural area. As Dean Ann Carmichael explains, Allendale, in particular, has struggled economically since the construction of I-95 redirected tourist traffic away from the town in the early 1970s. Increasingly, though, Salk is spearheading efforts to make the area attractive not only to students but investors. “We understand that our primary mission is to provide education in the region, and we do an outstanding job with that and have outstanding faculty, but we also have an obligation to help these communities,” says Carmichael. Working with the Southern Carolina Economic Alliance, the school lured a 101-bed private student housing facility to a site adjacent the Allendale campus in 2014. Now at full capacity, The Reserve is helping drive downtown redevelopment, and is directly responsible, according to Carmichael, for new interest from private businesses who want to tap the emerging market. To capitalize on that momentum, Salk also helped secure $1.8 million in grants, mostly from the Department of Transportation, for the devel-
opment of University Mile, an ambitious streetscaping and beautification project started this month along Highway 301 in Allendale. “This will revitalize that stretch on 301 with signage, bike trails, palmetto trees,” says Carmichael. “It will become an entry to the community that will be more fresh and inviting for everyone.” And that’s just what’s happening right now. Salk was also a key player recently in the Southern Carolina Alliance’s successful bid for federal Promise Zone designation. The 10-year designation gives the entire region, including the university, preference when applying for federal grants. “It gives you a leg up,” says Carmichael. “There are several projects we’re not quite ready to announce that I think will really make a difference in more than one of those areas, and that designation will definitely help.”
Education Long Range Plans But one of the clearest ways to measure Salk’s role in the region is to look at the new graduates the university turns out each year in high-need fields like elementary education. A former superintendent of education for Hampton District I, Buddy Phillips began lobbying for a four-year degree program at Salk in the early 80s, long before he came on board to run the university’s undergraduate education program, because he had seen firsthand how critical the need was for teachers in the area. “We just couldn’t find teachers to fill our classrooms,” he says. “For years, we had teachers aids and substitutes who wanted to come back to
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school, and who were plenty smart, but they couldn’t afford to drive 1-2 hours each way to go back to school for the degree.” After years of brainstorming, Phillips and other stakeholders came up with a program that allowed students to complete their first 60 credit hours toward a bachelor’s in elementary education at Salk before finishing the degree at USC Aiken. Finally, in 2001, they established a degree program based entirely in the Lowcountry and awarded their first four-year education degree in 2002. To date, the program has graduated nearly 80 students and placed the vast majority in area schools. Salk also provides early childhood education courses to students who will later transfer to either USC Aiken or USC Beaufort. “We don’t have any trouble finding these people jobs,” says Phillips. “They get a great education, and the school districts in our area jump on them. I’d say 98 percent stay right where they do their student teaching, and that’s what we wanted from the beginning.”
Nursing Starting Rotations More recently, Salkehatchie has demonstrated its worth by filling another critical need in the region — new nurses, particularly at the bachelor’s level. Created in 2006 through a grant from BlueCross BlueShield and The Duke Endowment, the university’s BSN program graduated its first new nurses in 2010. Sixteen candidates enter the highly competitive program’s upper division each year, and of those, approximately 12 graduate. “The majority of those students stay within our Salkehatchie region to work,” says student success manager April Cone. “We’re definitely filling not just that need for nurses but also the need for BSN-level nurses.” In the final semester of the program, BSN students participate in what’s called the Capstone Rotation, based on the nursing curriculum at USC Columbia. Students are paired with a registered nurse in one of the area’s hospitals and then gradually take on the full responsibilities of an RN under that nurse’s supervision. “And typically, when one of our students goes to one of these hospitals for Capstone Rotation, it’s kind of like their job interview. Ninety-nine percent of the time our students have job offers before they even graduate.” And all that success makes Cone proud though maybe just a tinge jealous. “As a nurse myself, I really wish that this program had been available when I was going through school,” says the Barnwell native. “I went the ADN route, then did the RN to BSN program, then went back for a master’s program. Now our students have this great opportunity to get that four-year degree out of the way and go right into the workforce.”
April Cone working with a nursing student
Culture Community Connection Salkehatchie’s impact on the quality of life may be less tangible than the school’s role in education and economic development, but it’s no less important to the region. From it’s role in restoring the historic Carolina Theatre in Allendale to the launch of Salkehatchie Stew, an oral history initiative to preserve regional stories and present them to the community, the school has carved out a distinctive cultural niche. And then, of course, there’s Salkehatchie athletics, which associate dean for students and athletics director Jane Brewer credits with helping forge Salk’s identity within the larger community. Players from each of Salk’s five athletics programs play an active role off the field, whether reading to kids at local schools or helping coordinate 5Ks for area civic groups. “And of course, our athletic programs bring the community to campus and give them something to rally around,” says Brewer. “People come to soccer matches, softball games, baseball games — it gives the community an important connection.”
ENDNOTES This month, we asked a USC Army ROTC cadet to model for our cover, but we’re not trying to recruit the next generation of servicemen and –women. We’re recruiting service, period. As retired Army colonel and alumnus Scott Brown, ’86, put it during this month’s Meet & Three, “Having life experiences helps shape what you want to do, and that’s not to say military service is the only kind of service. There’s Peace Corps and lots of other ways to serve without being in uniform.”
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